October 2012 – Community Care Reform
Consultation on the draft Care and Support bill ends on the 19 October. The Bill represents the government’s response to the Law Commission’s report on reform for adult social care and support and runs alongside the government’s white paper ‘Caring for out future’.
Understanding the system
Treating people with dignity and respect
Increasing service user control
There is reliance on what are now called ‘active communities’ and social workers are to be encouraged to connect people at risk of isolation to community groups and networks.
In large part, the bill consolidates, simplifies and modernises the current legislative framework. However, while many of the concepts such as that of a duty to assess remain, the actual provisions and definitions have been changed significantly. For example, the duty to assess will now be triggered when it comes to the local authority’s attention that a person may be in need of ‘care and support’ – not community care services as at present. There is no prescribed set of services but a non-exhaustive list of the ways that an authority might meet eligible needs for care and support.
In addition section 21 National Assistance Act is to be repealed. Instead accommodation is listed as one of the services an authority may provide in order to fulfil its duty to meet assessed eligible needs.
The bill also proposes a general duty to promote the individual’s well-being when exercising any function. This will include not only physical and mental health but also social and economic well-being, family and personal relationships and ‘control by the adult over day-to-day life (including over the care and support provided to the adult and the way in which it is provided).
The government has also confirmed that they will introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold from 2015 while the white paper expects no tightening of the existing eligibility criteria with the majority of authorities using a ‘substantial’ eligibility threshold.
Personal budgets are to be specified in the care plan and a new portability scheme is to be introduced to cover adults in receipt of care and support moving from one authority to another. This scheme will not cover ‘out of borough’ placements and the need for ordinary residence will be maintained to prevent authorities transferring responsibility for the provision of services to another authority.
Final decisions will be announced as part of the next spending review.
Further updates and progress will be covered in a future item.
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